Moved Almost to Tears
This note is to let you know how much I appreciate the September/October BTG. My service here at Gita Nagari caring for the cows and oxen is very demanding, and I don't take much time to read. But I became very much enlivened and even moved almost to tears by two articles in that issue.
Mahavisnu Swami's article on distributing a book really moved me. I was fortunate years ago to distribute books for a while before starting my present service. The article by Bhaktin Robin was also very enlivening. I grew up in the South during the bussing years and saw riots between blacks and whites in my schools.
Port Royal, Pennsylvania
Butcherlike TV Producers
In the July/August issue, Urmila Devi Dasi's article "Your Kids and the One-Eyed Guru" contained many convincing references from Srila Prabhupada and other sources exposing TV for what it really is.
To add, if I may, to her wonderful contribution: I can't find words horrible enough to describe the psychological manipulation knowingly employed by butcherlike TV producers to exploit the innocent trust and wonder of childhood. Children virtually get trained through TV to break all regulative principles, to feel confident and good about it, and to teach the same to their children. Let's give our children the real television Srila Prabhupada gave us the television constantly being transmitted live to the heart of a devotee through Srimad-Bhagavatam.
Ajamila Dasa Adhikari
Working for Nondevotees Is OK
Thank you for writing "Giving Everything Up" in the September/October issue of BTG. It was wonderful preaching.
You've found Sri Caitanya's interaction with Kurma to be instructive, and you've also added relevant good commentary. I believe your most important commentary to be, "One can teach Krsna consciousness to others. In this way one makes one's own life perfect…."
Srila Prabhupada himself encouraged me thus: "You family men, you require some money…. You have got better job now and better service also. Krsna has awarded you for your service. Stick to it" (Conversations with Srila Prabhupada, vol. 25, p. 172).
It pained me to read Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu's comment (back in BTG 11/12, 1991, p. 35) "Prabhupada did say that it was bad for a devotee to be employed by a nondevotee." Prabhupada did not discourage me in this way. Prabhupada emphasized my service, my preaching. He simply encouraged me to see my job as dependent on my service.
Although I like much of Urmila's "Higher Vocation" (BTG 3/4, 1993), I take exception with her understanding of independence. Prabhupada defined independence to me as dependence only on God and nature, whereas modern society is dependent on material things. Urmila implies that service to an employer is a lower vocation. However, there are examples to the contrary. Indeed Bhaktivinoda Thakura, a great independent devotee, had a profession that was apparently dependent on the British rulers of Calcutta and Orissa. To older children and young adults, aware of a complex world, Bhaktivinoda's example appears inconsistent with Urmila's ideal view. Arjuna did not fight in an ideal world. He had to carry out his duty to his family, to Draupadi, and to Krsna. Thus, we can teach adolescents and adults that an independent devotee can work in the world or live in a temple but he or she must put service to Krsna first.
In 1979 as I passed through the airport in Denver I met a bus driver who was a devotee. She was a married mother of a sixteen-year-old child and was struggling to do her worldly duties and be a devotee. I took great inspiration from that person. There are many devotees who practice their vows in the temple, but there are also many in the world who endeavor to pattern their lives on the Bhagavad-gita as Prabhupada taught it.
My request is that you continue to print articles like "Giving Everything Up," and that you avoid giving misleading information. Cancer is such a threat in modern society that doctors are called upon to be precise. They must try to cut or burn out the malignancy only. Using primitive methods, entire limbs used to be amputated. As spiritual doctors, please do not cut off our limbs. We need those to serve Krsna.
Allured to Krsna
Several months ago I had the pleasure of obtaining some old issues of Back to Godhead and enjoyed them very much. I have always been allured to the Krsna faith and remained curious about it for many years.
I am a 34-year-old prisoner who is very serious about becoming a devotee to serve Krsna and clean my spirit with the Krsna faith. I am most eager to meet other brothers and sisters to bond myself with the faith and life style. Therefore, I would like to personally appeal directly to you to publish my name and address in Back to Godhead.
Needless to say, as a state prisoner I do not have the funds to subscribe to Back to Godhead. I can just assure you that my motives are genuine and I would like to learn as much as I can about the faith. If a free subscription was provided to me, I promise you I would keep it in circulation among the prison population, where others could learn about the Krsna movement.
Jimmy Zientek #76B1899
Collins Correctional Facility
Helmuth, NY 14079-0200
Thanks for your letter. We've published your address and entered a complimentary subscription for you. Hare Krsna. (Readers wishing to sponsor subscriptions for needy persons can send contributions to BTG at our editorial offices.)